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Military starts first round of vaccinations for soldiers and civilian military personnel age 30 and up

Military starts first round of vaccinations for soldiers and civilian military personnel age 30 and up

Ministry began vaccinations at 92 centers, including hospitals and medical corps of each armed service

Operating task force team and a 24-hour call center to respond to adverse reactions after vaccination

Military will carry out two- to three-time dispersed vaccinations for each unit to minimize absences from duty

For mild reactions after vaccination, the military will take measures, such as combat duty holiday

Military starts first round of vaccinations for so 


The military has initiated vaccinations of its personnel against COVID-19. On April 28, the Ministry of National Defense began giving COVID-19 vaccinations to soldiers age 30 and up. This round of vaccinations was given to all qualified personnel who agreed to take it (105,000 service members, as of April 27), out of 126,000 soldiers and civilian military employees aged 30 and above. The vaccination program was carried out at 92 military vaccination centers, including the military hospitals of each armed service, corps vaccination centers, and division-level medical corps.


“83% of military service members have agreed to be vaccinated, but this rate may change over time,” said a spokesperson from the ministry.


The ministry planned to begin vaccinations early next month, in line with the government’s early vaccination program for essential workers. Due to the increased risk of the spread of COVID-19 in the military, particularly considering the recent outbreak, the ministry decided to carry out vaccinations first for the organizations which are ready.


Starting with vaccinations at 84 vaccination centers in the military this month, the ministry decided to carry out vaccinations at 92 vaccination centers from next month, as planned by each unit.


The military commanders have also joined the vaccination program. Army Chief of Staff Nam Yeong-shin, Navy Chief of Staff Boo Seok-jong, and Air Force Chief of Staff Lee Seong-yong each received the vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccination center set up in an indoor gymnasium of the Army unit in Gyeryong, and encouraged the medical staff at the site. Commander of Marine Corps Kim Tae-seong also received a vaccine at a vaccination center set up in a multi-purpose gymnasium of the command.


The ministry and each armed service aim to complete the vaccination program, excluding some units which have mission-related restrictions, within one to two weeks after starting vaccinations at each vaccination center. To accomplish this, they have made systematic preparations by conducting mock drills for safe and quick vaccinations, as well as establishing a detailed plan through cooperation between military vaccination centers and recipient units.


The ministry also published a vaccination guidebook and distributed it to soldiers, in order to answer their questions about vaccination procedures. See page 3


Significantly, the ministry checked the vaccination status in real time by running an ‘adverse reaction task force team’ linked with the Disease Control and Prevention Agency (DCPA)-Ministry of National Defense (Armed Forces Medical Command (AFMC)-each armed service, and decided to provide quick actions and medical consultation against adverse reactions. The AFMC will run a 24-hour call center (1666-5947) to respond to adverse reactions.


The military also decided to carry out two-to-three-time dispersed vaccinations or vaccination after mission shift for each unit, in order to minimize absences in mission performance and management of the unit, such as the maintenance of a military readiness posture, during the interval between vaccinations. The ministry has a plan to carry out vaccinations according to missions and conditions by designating vaccination as the unit’s task, so that the unit can concentrate solely on vaccinations on the day of vaccination.


For personnel who experience mild reactions after being vaccinated, such as pressure pain or muscle ache, mild fever and chills, the military decided to give a combat duty holiday to promote a quick recovery. The military has also decided to apply other measures such as emergency leave, for those who need it due to a vaccine reaction.


The ministry expects that this round of the vaccination program will greatly contribute to quarantine management, such as the prevention of outbreaks in the military, because it can considerably reduce the risk of infections among military officers and civilian military employees who commute from outside of the barracks. Minister Suh Wook asked the military to “make a commitment to achieving herd immunity on a national level, as well as in the military, by providing vaccinations safely and systematically while respecting the will of recipients.”

By Su-Yeol, Maeng < >

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